“I was spit out by my mom [Diana Ross] so it [fashion] has been in my genes since I was a kid, and I worked in the fashion industry for years when I was growing up,” Ellis Ross told PeopleStyle about her new Tracee Ellis Ross for JCP collection. “I was a fashion editor and stylist. Then I moved into the acting world and my love of clothing never stopped. I’ve always dreamt of creating a line”
So when JC Penney asked her to dream up a line with them, she jumped at the opportunity. “JC Penney approached me and it felt like the perfect collaboration because one of the things I feel really strongly about is that everyone should have access to style, everyone should have access to beautiful things, everybody and all walks of life.”
Buy It! Traces Ellis Ross for SJP Bliss Robe Jacket, $59; jcpenney.com; Tracee Ellis Ross for JCP Glow Short-Sleeve Sequin Dress, $74; jcpenney.com; Tracee Ellis Ross for JCP Heaven Tuxedo Jacket, $59; jcpenney.com
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The line, which includes 28 pieces that are all under $80, was inspired by the Black-ish star’s own wardrobe — along with style inspiration from her mom, Diana Ross and icons including Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Nina Simone and a “little bit of Cher.”
“It is a collection but it’s more of a wardrobe,” she shared. “It’s all based around how I dress and how I pull myself together which has a lot to do with ease and comfort and feeling empowered and also joyful in my clothing. So there’s a lot of color and sparkle and joy and pattern in everything.”
So what are her favorite pieces? “It’s all pretty special,” she says, but adds that a tuxedo jacket — which she created for the line — should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.
“For years, I’ve been asked, ‘What is the one piece of clothing that you would say that people should buy or spend money on in their closet?’ And the tuxedo jacket is always what I say. You can wear it over a dress, you can wear it over a gown, over jeans with a t-shirt, over sweatpants,” she explained. “You can kind of do anything with a tux jacket. This is a really nice one,” she says of her creation. “It’s got a nice little shoulder and it kind of nips in a little bit at the waist so it gives you like that little swirl that you like in the waist area.”
Buy It! Tracee Ellis Ross for JCP Glow Short-Sleeve Sequin Dress, $74; jcpenny.com
But she wasn’t only focused on what looked good. Ellis Ross said that she wanted to create pieces that make women feel good. “I’m really working with the phrase, ‘Everybody for every body.’ All different body types. Also one of my favorites is an over sized sequin t-shirt dress both in gold and hot pink. Which again, it’s flattering for anybody even if you’re feeling like that heavier part of the month or the lighter part of the month, it still accentuates all the good stuff.”
Buy It! Traces Ellis Ross for JCP Drawstring Pouch, $19; jcpenney.com
Ellis Ross also created handbags for as little as $19. “There’s like a lot of little sequin clutches, a little drawstring clutch for the evening, a big tote,” she said. “Literally like all of the pieces that make up the staple of my closet.”
Buy It! Tracee Ellis Ross for JCP Sequin Clutch, $19; jcpenney.com
But above all, Ellis Ross just wants every woman to be able to wear her pieces.
“Inclusivity is extremely important to me in all aspects of my life so it doesn’t change when it comes to clothing,” she concluded. “I don’t feel like there’s a need to limit it to certain kinds of people and that everyone should have access to joy and great clothes.”
What do you think of her line? Sound off below.